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Kazakhstan Gambling Sector Criticizes Proposed Payment Monopoly System



Kazakhstan Gambling Sector Criticizes Proposed Payment Monopoly

Kazakhstan Gambling Sector Criticizes Proposed Payment Monopoly

In the ever-evolving landscape of gambling regulations, Kazakhstan’s latest legislative proposal has sparked significant controversy. The proposed Unified Accounting System (UAS), mandated by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has drawn sharp criticism from gambling operators and fintech sectors alike. The Kazakhstan Fair Gambling Campaign, a prominent lobby group, has voiced strong opposition, arguing that the government has bypassed essential consultations.

The Controversial Unified Accounting System

The central premise of the UAS is to centralize the regulation of payments across the gambling and fintech sectors, ostensibly to enhance government oversight. However, critics argue that this move will create a private monopoly over payments, reminiscent of the previously scrapped Kazakhstan Betting Accounting Center (BAC) proposal, which was marred by allegations of bribery involving a former vice minister.

Lack of Transparency and Consultation

One of the primary concerns raised by the Kazakhstan Fair Gambling Campaign is the lack of transparency surrounding the UAS’s structure and ownership. Irina Davidenko, a member of the Kazakh Association of Payment Organisations, highlighted that the lower house included the proposal without proper consultation with Kazakhstan’s National Bank. She emphasized that this move contradicts the broader goal of reducing private intermediaries and infringes on the rights of payment organizations and banks by transforming the market share of regulated payments.

Impact on the Gambling and Fintech Sectors

The proposed UAS would require gambling operators to report customer gambling activities directly to the State Revenue Committee (SRC) of the Ministry of Finance. This includes detailed reports on bets, losses, and winnings. Betting and totalizator operators would need to integrate both hardware and software from the national tax agency to ensure automatic data reporting. Additionally, banks would be obligated to provide transaction data within a 10-day period, including details of transfers and authorizations involving gambling operators.


Historical Context: The BAC Proposal

The current debate around the UAS echoes the controversies surrounding the former BAC proposal. The BAC, intended to regulate the betting industry, was abandoned following revelations of corruption. Critics of the UAS fear a repeat of this scenario, with the added complication of monopolizing the payments system. The lack of clear ownership and governance details fuels concerns about potential abuses of power and conflicts of interest.

Government’s Perspective

From the government’s standpoint, the UAS is a necessary step to curb illegal gambling activities and enhance tax revenue collection. By having a centralized system, the government argues it can better monitor and regulate gambling transactions, ensuring compliance with national laws and standards. This, in turn, would help to protect consumers and maintain the integrity of the gambling industry.

Industry Response and Future Implications

The response from the gambling and fintech industries has been overwhelmingly negative. Industry stakeholders argue that the UAS will stifle innovation and competition, creating an environment where a single entity controls a significant portion of the market. This could lead to higher costs for operators and, ultimately, for consumers.

The Kazakhstan Fair Gambling Campaign has called for a more transparent and inclusive process, urging the government to engage with industry stakeholders to develop a regulatory framework that balances oversight with market freedom. They propose a collaborative approach that includes input from the National Bank, payment organizations, and gambling operators to ensure that the new system is fair, effective, and free from corruption.


The Role of International Standards

The debate also touches on the need for Kazakhstan to align its gambling regulations with international standards. By adopting best practices from other jurisdictions, Kazakhstan can ensure that its regulatory framework is robust and credible. This includes implementing measures to prevent money laundering and other illicit activities, while also fostering a competitive and dynamic market environment.


As Kazakhstan navigates the complexities of regulating its gambling industry, the proposed UAS represents a critical juncture. While the government’s intent to improve oversight and tax collection is clear, the potential pitfalls of creating a private payment monopoly cannot be ignored. The gambling and fintech sectors are calling for greater transparency, consultation, and adherence to international standards to ensure that the new system benefits all stakeholders.

In this evolving landscape, it is essential for Kazakhstan to strike a balance between regulation and market freedom. By doing so, the country can foster a thriving, innovative, and fair gambling industry that contributes to its economic growth and social well-being.

Kazakhstan stands at a crossroads in its journey to regulate the gambling industry effectively. The outcome of this debate will shape the future of gambling in the country, influencing both the market dynamics and the broader economic landscape. It is a pivotal moment that calls for careful consideration, inclusive dialogue, and a commitment to fairness and transparency.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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